“Impenetrable defense”

Jiu jitsu is often referred to as the “Gentle Art” because it relies on technique and leverage to overcome brute force and aggression. A huge part of getting good at Jiu jitsu, involves developing your defensive capabilities BOTH standing and on the ground. It is important(though often neglected) to develop the ability to defend yourself and escape from dangerous situations such as bear hugs, head locks, chokes etc as well as opponents trying to do you harm with strikes. You must learn to escape these holds and safely close the distance and take down your opponent. And thanks to the work of Gracie Jiu jitsu’s founder, 63kg/139lb Helio Gracie, Jiu jitsu excels as a defensive art for everyone!

In his classic book “The Art of War”, the legendary Chinese General Sun Tzu, writes “First learn to become Invincible, then wait for your enemy’s moment of vulnerability”. This classic statement applies especially well to Jiu jitsu! This was one of the key strategies that allowed Helio Gracie to defeat much bigger and stronger opponents as he aimed to make his defensive movements almost perfect so that his opponents worked hard and expended their energy looking for an opening to attack that wasn’t there! Then when they were tired and weakened, he exploited their mistakes and used them to submit them!

A while back, I wrote about the importance of Escape training and how it is imperative to your development in the art. Well now I will elaborate on this a little further. An “Impenetrable defense” requires more than just the ability to escape, it requires a knowledge and understanding of the dangers of various positions, as well as the ability to pre empt your opponents attacks and defend them before they have completed their attack. It is the ability to put yourself in a position where you don’t have to defend because the opponent has no opening to attack due to correct defensive posture. It is the ability to feel and sense their movements and use their energy against them to escape, reverse or submit your opponent and it is a skill possessed by all the great fighters! Here is a classic example of Roger Gracie entitled “Master of Escapes”. Roger’s incredible ability to defend, escape and reverse has seen him rise to the top of the Jiu jitsu and Submission Wrestling world and with more mma fights in his sites I am sure you will be seeing more of him soon!

To improve your defensive capability it is important to stay relxed, mentally alert and ready to react to any attack! When you are relaxed your body is better able to feel and sense your opponent’s movements and counter quickly. To help you stay relaxed it is imporant to breathe! Often when under pressure, people tend to forget to breathe and they burn a lot of unneccessary energy trying to fight strength with strength. Breathing will help counteract this as the increased oxygen will help you remain calm, mentally alert and sharp as well as able to react quickly! Next time you roll with your instructor or any great Jiu jitsu player take a mental note of their breathing patterns, especially under duress and you are gauranteed to learn a lot! So work hard to denevlop your defensive capabilities and hopefully you  will develop an “Impenetrable defense”!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!


Jiu jitsu Kingdom


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12 Responses to ““Impenetrable defense””

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  4. Liam Says:

    Good article. People were first obsessed with subs, and a lot of beginners still are. You also have a lot of people who are obsessed with getting the hell out of bad positions which is not entirely bad I suppose, but there is definietly a huge aversion out there to the general concept of discomfort, which is a pity because it’s a great teacher. If everyone spent 20 minutes under mount or side control just working hard on their survival, not escape, just survival, it would teach them more than a 2hr private lesson about:

    1. discomfort vs real danger
    2. positional survival
    3. positional escapes
    4. submission set ups and how to prevent them
    5. anchoring
    6. transition set ups and how to prevent them at their different stages
    7. what makes positional dominance and how to negate it

    and more. Keep up the great work Felipe.


    • jiujitsukingdom Says:

      Very well said mate, I couldn’t agree more with you! As a matter of fact I worked on this today in a private class with another black belt that I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of training with and it payed huge dividends! Being able to SURVIVE is just so important and a prelude to being able to escape, reverse and or submit!
      Kind Regards

  5. Lawrence Lai Says:

    My coach Liam teaches us to submit when being penetrated and not to defend. Its inevitable.

  6. Lawrence Lai Says:

    That is true, however the Lai Hook is yet to be perfected beyond a sinlge sweep.

    Apprently Liam has some ideas about expanding the position.

    Gotta show you this new guard set to revolutionise the way spider guard is played.

    • jiujitsukingdom Says:

      That’s cool, I’m still pretty interested mate. Liam speaks highly of it and that’s good enough for me! Can I look forward to a demonstration in the no gi comp next month?
      Kind Regards

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